“These agreements provide vital elements in building a strong foundation for a stable and prosperous future between the two countries,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson. The Secretary-General commended Presidents Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan and Salva Kiir of South Sudan “for demonstrating the statesmanship that made a comprehensive agreement possible, and for having once again chosen peace over war.” South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July last year, six years after the signing of the peace agreement that ended decades of warfare between the north and the south. However, the peace between the two countries has been threatened in recent months by armed clashes along their common border and outstanding post-independence issues that have yet to be resolved.The talks, held under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, were designed to enable the two nations to fulfil their obligations under a so-called roadmap aimed at easing tensions, facilitating the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and normalizing the relations between the two countries.Mr. Ban praised the “serious and constructive” participation, by both sides, in the talks, as well as the continuing leadership of the Panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki in facilitating and mediating the talks.“The Secretary-General calls on both Governments to find solutions to the future of the disputed and claimed areas and the final status of Abyei,” the statement said. “He urges both countries to now embark on the implementation of the agreements they have signed and to finalize the processes they have initiated.”Addressing a ministerial-level meeting on Sudan and South Sudan held at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban said he remained extremely concerned over the humanitarian crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan, as well as the inter-communal violence in South Sudan. “Both Governments must urgently confront human rights violations and the suffering of all civilians caught in conflict by addressing impunity and holding the perpetrators accountable,” he told the meeting,” held on the margins of the General Debate of the 67th General Assembly.“Humanitarian aid must reach all people in need of assistance. Respect for human rights is essential for lasting peace.”In a communiqué issued after the ministerial meeting, participants commended the Presidents of both countries for the “breakthrough” achieved during the negotiations, and encouraged them to complete expeditiously the negotiations related to the disputed and claimed border areas.